The Miami Dolphins had a dramatic upheaval on their offensive line on Thursday, releasing a key player, signing a key player, and trading for a key player.
The Dolphins are planning to grant veteran center Mike Pouncey his release, are signing four-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton, and are trading for 49ers center Daniel Kilgore.
Pouncey, the former Dolphins first-rounder, told the Palm Beach Post he was crushed.
“I gave this city everything had,” Pouncey said. “I’m heartbroken.”
Pouncey and the Dolphins could not agree on how to restructure his contract, so he said he asked for a release.
“At the end of the day I’m a Miami Dolphin for life,” Pouncey said. “This city gave me an opportunity to play in the NFL. I think it was awesome. I had a hell of a ride here.”
The Dolphins are replacing Pouncey, 28, with Daniel Kilgore, 30, acquired in a trade with the 49ers. The opportunity to acquire Kilgore set in motion the release of Pouncey, according to a league source.
Kilgore was a reserve for the first five years of his career, then emerged with 29 starts over the past two seasons. After last season, Kilgore agreed to a new 3-year, $11.8 million contract that includes $7 million guaranteed.
Kilgore carries a cap hit of $5.4 million this season, followed by $2.8 million and $3.6 million. But the 49ers signed center Weston Richburg, so Kilgore became expendable.
“He is very much a leader of this team, and his hard work and commitment to our success provide a great example for our young team. When you come across players who love the game like Dan you do your best to keep them in your building,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said when Kilgore was extended.
Kilgore was the 23rd-ranked center by Pro Football Focus in 2017, 25th in pass blocking and 19th in run blocking.
Pouncey was the 3oth-ranked center by PFF, 14th in pass blocking and 30th in run blocking.
The Dolphins also signed veteran guard Sitton on Thursday, securing him on a 2-year deal worth up to $18 million with incentives, according to a league source.
Sitton is a scrapper and a mauler and a four-time Pro Bowler with lots of playoff experience and a Super Bowl ring.
Miami’s revamped offensive line of Laremy Tunsil-Josh Sitton-Daniel Kilgore-Jesse Davis-Ja’Wuan James should result in an improvement in the running game.
Ted Larsen might compete with Davis at right guard, but if he doesn’t win a starting position, he should provide excellent depth at both guard and center.